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ERIC Number: EJ940898
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7724
Teaching Intellectually Challenging Social Studies in the Middle School: Problems and Possibilities
Conklin, Hilary G.
Social Education, v75 n4 p220, 222-225 Sep 2011
Are middle schoolers capable of discussing the war in Iraq in meaningful ways? Can seventh graders develop informed ideas about presidential candidates' positions on health care? Should young adolescents discuss controversial public issues, interpret primary sources, and analyze social problems? Thoughtful social studies educators disagree. While some educators advocate engaging all students in challenging intellectual work, some teachers believe this kind of teaching and learning is not possible or appropriate at the middle school level; they believe such instruction should be reserved until high school. As a result, many students in middle school classrooms experience social studies instruction that emphasizes factual recall and hands-on activities that require only lower order thinking. What explains this mismatch between what is possible and what is often put into practice in middle school social studies classrooms? In this article, the author examines several likely explanations for this disconnect, and then she explores the teaching and learning possibilities for social studies instruction in the middle school years. (Contains 22 notes.)
National Council for the Social Studies. 8555 Sixteenth Street #500, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel: 800-683-0812; Tel: 301-588-1800; Fax: 301-588-2049; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Grade 7; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Iraq